Thanksgiving cooking safety tips from the South Bend Fire Department

South Bend Fire Engine 9 and Medic 9. (Mark McGill/95.3MNC)

A cooking fire is three times more likely on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.  This statistic serves as a great reminder to use caution and ensure you are cooking safely on this day.

The South Bend Fire Department has issued the following reminders to keep your Thanksgiving safe:

Staying alert and in the kitchen can prevent many of these fires.  Cooking fires account for nearly half of all reported home fires in the year according to the National Fire Protection Association.  Unattended cooking is the leading cause of these fires.  Never leave food that is cooking on the stove top unattended, and this especially holds true when you are frying food.  Keep a lid nearby so it can easily be slid over the pan if a small fire does occur. 

Make use of a timer when cooking, and check things in the oven frequently.  This year may be different, but this day is often a busy time around the home.  Consider having timers in multiple locations to ensure they are heard over whatever background noise there may be. 

If you’re using a turkey fryer, always follow the manufacturers recommendations.  Do not use next to the home or in an enclosed area.  Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency, and never try to put out an oil fire with water. 

The holiday is not just an exciting time for adults, but children as well.  Children want to help and will offer their assistance in the kitchen.  Ensure there is a kid free zone of at least 3 feet around appliances like the stove, toaster oven, or any area where hot food and liquids will be prepared, carried or served.  This same 3 foot barrier also serves as a reminder to keep cooking areas clear of things that could catch fire. 

If there is ever any doubt about being able to extinguish a fire, get out and stay out.  Ensure you close your doors on the way out, get outside to your meeting place, and call 9-1-1 to report the fire. 

Fire Chief Buchanon says, “Nothing is more important than knowing that your family is safe and healthy.  Giving thanks every day for the real hero, you!” 

As a department, we have responded to an increasing number of fire incidents over the last month and want to ensure that we don’t add to that statistic on Thanksgiving Day.  Let’s all do our part in ensuring a safe holiday for all. 


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